Nurses with Bipolar Disorder

  1. 3
    Hello-

    I was reading some old posts from some people that were about 2 years old and wanted a fresh thread on this. Any nurses out there with Bipolar (BP) Disorder? How have you managed it? What kinds of things have happened for you?

    I loved my job for awhile. Now I wonder if the stress is just too much. I work on a high stress, busy busy floor...who doesn't these days. I love the hospital I work for, but I am having a lot more issues lately than ever before. I am going to see my boss today and I'm concerned about what she is going to reprimand me about.

    I am very open about my BP, but lately, people are telling me that it has gotten a lot worse. I don't know why. I am on the brink of being hosptialized again. I know if this happens, I will loose my job. I have called out a lot becuase of physical problems and other times due to my BP. My boss has been very nice about keeping me aboard.

    My main problems right now are with anger. ..followed by depression. I have never gone off on a patient no matter how bad they have been. My problems are with co-workers. Also, I did break down in front of a patient 2 weeks ago because I was so stressed and couldn't get help from anyone.

    I'm just perplexed at what this disorder has done to me. I cannot see myself doing anything different. I feel lost.

    Anyone out there?

    Jax
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  3. 24 Comments so far...

  4. 3
    I know people with BP, and the one thing that is most important, in our friendship and at work.. keep on the meds, and keep going to therapy. Not that my friends need reminders on this, being nurses we all see the consequences of going on and off, and hear stories from out counterparts.
    I dont know what your boss is going to tell you when you get in there, but do me one favor, dont think of yourself as less deserving or more deserving of reprimand or congratulations. You are a unique individual, who loves her job. If you want that job, then take the EAP (employee assistance or whatever your facility calls it)they offer, and logically think about your circumstances.
    Dont step down becasue they tell you to(if thats what you think is going to happen) ask for alternatives and prove them wrong.

    And Good Luck.
  5. 3
    I've been dealing with type II bipolar disorder since I was 12 years old. It took until I was 18 to really understand my illness and what it does to me. I took me until I was 26 to find the right medications and to feel "normal" again.

    Dysphoric Hypomania

    For some reason it's not talked about. Hypomania has this reputation for being a wonderful state of mind. Hypomanic people are productive and happy and feel great. It's like you're the king of the world! That's a load of malarky. Hypomania has a dark side. You're thoughts are racing but sometime they just go around in circles and you can't get these thoughts out of your head. You can't focus or concentrate. It's like when you get a song stuck in your head and you can't stop singing it. You're agitated. Things don't annoy you they send you in a blind rage. You know the way you feel doesn't make any sense at all but you can't help it. Then you feel anxious and depressed because you can't control these outbursts. If this sounds like you, you may be suffering from dysphoric hypomania.

    If you'd like to send me a private message and give me some specifics regarding your situation I'd be glad to try and give you some advice that may help you to get through this a little more easily. Hang in there, things get better.
    Marshall1, VivaLasViejas, and canoehead like this.
  6. 1
    Well certainly you are insightful about your illness and that is good. Regardless of what that conversation is you have to do what is best for you. If that means going to a lower stress position with the same hospital seeing as you seem to really like it then do it. Do what you need. I was on my first medical floor job and had a seasoned nurse that really was just on top of me every minute about the littlest things. If 10 minutes outside the window for meds she would go to the manager and tell her I couldn't manage med pass--despite asking what might have held me up and that many of the other nurses had the same issue on some days--like I would think is normal when thigs happen that you can't control. But things like that she made me crazy about. She would comb my charts for the tiniest things. She created the most anxious work environment for me that I went on meds for it. Eventually they went from helping to triggering manic episodes (common I later found out after working in psych). Between the anxiety and racing thoughts it began to be too overwhelming and I decided to leave. I went to psych......and loved it. I was able to stop all my meds and have never been on any since. It was a situational thing that was creating the anxiety and that chemically triggered the mania. Once I took this environment out of the picture I no longer had any problems. So take a look at your options. Not to say that your illness would just vanish but I would say that there are going to be areas of nursing that will be harder and more stressful which will make your BP D/P worse. And keep on top of your meds.
    Good luck to you.
    Faeriewand likes this.
  7. 1
    I do not have bipolar disorder or at least I haven't been diagnosed as having it.. However, I do have adjustment disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. I have been a nurse for about a year now, but I have only held a job for 3 weeks. I have had around 7 nursing jobs, but the anxiety was so bad that I would quit usually after 1 or 2 days. This is not something new really, but this extreme is very new. Since I was a child I have had separation issues and anxiety attacks, but nothing like this. Before becoming a nurse I was a bookkeeper for my grandfathers restaurant businesses for close to 10 years. I sought help from the nurse practitioner at one of the clinics I was employed at and he started me on Lexapro and Vistaril on a Thursday. He expected me to be ok and back to work Monday.... I was still a mess! I was shaking and twitching and crying. I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. So I lost that job.. Since then it's been a vicious cycle of getting jobs and starting them only to end up quitting a day later. I have been thru counseling and was told by the counselor that I don't need counseling that I seem to have it all together because I realize these feelings are irrational and I know I want to work and I need to work. The anxiety seems to be lessening, but it's still keeping me from working. My last attempt at working was Monday and Tuesday of this week. My family doesn't understand why I can't work, and I honestly can't make them understand.. I was just wondering if anyone has been thru this... Any positive help is greatly appreciated!!!
    Marshall1 likes this.
  8. 0
    I saw this post is from 2/2011 but I thought I would write anyway. Maybe you can get a 2nd opinion? It sounds terrible what you've been going through with not being able to keep a job AND your family not understanding. Hang in there! There's NAMI = Natl Alliance on Mental Illness www.nami.org and they may be able to provide some resources for your family to learn about your illness.
  9. 0
    Quote from HappyJaxRN
    Hello-

    I was reading some old posts from some people that were about 2 years old and wanted a fresh thread on this. Any nurses out there with Bipolar (BP) Disorder? How have you managed it? What kinds of things have happened for you?

    I loved my job for awhile. Now I wonder if the stress is just too much. I work on a high stress, busy busy floor...who doesn't these days. I love the hospital I work for, but I am having a lot more issues lately than ever before. I am going to see my boss today and I'm concerned about what she is going to reprimand me about.

    I am very open about my BP, but lately, people are telling me that it has gotten a lot worse. I don't know why. I am on the brink of being hosptialized again. I know if this happens, I will loose my job. I have called out a lot becuase of physical problems and other times due to my BP. My boss has been very nice about keeping me aboard.


    My main problems right now are with anger. ..followed by depression. I have never gone off on a patient no matter how bad they have been. My problems are with co-workers. Also, I did break down in front of a patient 2 weeks ago because I was so stressed and couldn't get help from anyone.

    I'm just perplexed at what this disorder has done to me. I cannot see myself doing anything different. I feel lost.

    Anyone out there?

    Jax
    I feel your pain; although I don't have Bipolar the job becomes consuming and overwhelming at times. I would suggest as the OP suggest, check out you job's Employee Assistance Program; also try to transfer to another area that you use your skills but it is a less stressful environment. Try to make a mental note of exactly what situations push you over the edge and try to avoid them if you can. If you have a friend that works the sameshift as you and who knows you well, tell them if they see you in a compromising situation that is going to 'push your buttons' to find some way to distract you or call you away before you escalate. Maybe you need your medication adjusted or need to take couple days off to regroup and pamper yourself. Don't allow yourself to become hopeless - consider some of the suggestions of your peers and also see what your Psychiatrist has to say. Keep us informed of your progress. My prayers are with you!!!
  10. 1
    >.< it sounds like you're really going through a rough patch. I think the most important things for the illness. Is having a low stress job, which by the sounds you don't have, surround yourself with political conflict and drama and it really sucks the energy and happiness out of you. .

    If you really think things are going bad and your stress is off the charts that's really the time to take some time off even if it's just a couple of days to calm yourself and think through things. It might sound silly but it really works and is something I do if everything becomes overwelming and stressful.

    Do you love your job and co-workers? Or is there a less stressful area you could go into?

    Just remember there's only one of you and you have to look after yourself ok? Turning yourself into a worn rag at the workplace won't do anyone any good for you or your employer nor patients. Maybe a holiday? If you have the hours?

    Sorry I couldn't be anymore help but sending you the best of wishes!!
    Last edit by Gold_SJ on Nov 24, '12
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  11. 0
    I like what you had to say and looking for a mentor so to speak about going into the Nursing program. I'm supposed to attend in January of 2012 and and petrified. I love the health care field and want to help others but feel that my BP I is going to get out of control and take a turn for the worse. Emotionally right now I don't feel like I could even take on such a program as many people keep telling me how hard the program is. Is there any advise you can give? I'd appreciate your help thank you.
    Jo'Ann
  12. 2
    I don't have this issue but have noted coworkers with BD try to -

    - not work nights
    - opt for lower stress and lower stimuli work environments
    eg not ED and not extra busy med/surg.
    This can mean there has to be a trade-off regarding stress and interest level. May have to accept a slower pace and a 'boring' environment.
    - avoid difficult coworker personalities. Psych may be a better choice. Psych nurses seem to have gentler, less abrasive personalities

    Good luck and best wishes
    Gold_SJ and VivaLasViejas like this.


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